Two sons of Tommy Douglas invite you on another all-vinyl trip across the Great White North. From reflective provinces to longing territories, you’ll discover a mellow cultural mosaic of the overlooked and the unknown. And if you haven’t heard the first installment, now’s the time to get acquainted. May as well make it a double double.

Still Rollin’ (Up The Rim): A Vintage Canadian Mixtape II

Playlist after the jump . . .


Ethan Miller has been living a frantically creative life in Oakland, CA since he was 17. His passion for constructing new musical experiences is insatiable, as evidenced via his work in Comets On Fire, Howlin’ Rain, Heron Oblivion and, most recently, Feral Ohms. With the Ohms album on the horizon (3/24), we caught up with Miller to discuss, among other things, his litany of bands, the importance of a DIY subculture and his recently released book of poetry.

Aquarium Drunkard: Let’s jump right in with Heron Oblivion. 2016 was a big marker with the release of the group’s self-titled debut. You’re in a lot of bands – what’s rewarding to you about this one in particular?

Ethan Miller: Well, for starters, they are all killer musicians. There is a lot of amazing chemistry in the band. Originally we all kind of got together because we’re all close friends. Those three people (Noel Von Harmonson, Charlie Saufley, Meg Baird) are some of my closest friends and I think they would say the same. When Meg moved out to the West Coast, I think we partially wanted to do something fun, improvised and musical together, because Noel and I would get together and have these little improvised jams. Also, with our busy lives it was a nice excuse to spend a few hours a week together just hanging and stuff. I think we were a little surprised by the group’s chemistry, like, okay I guess we need to make a band out of this thing.

AD: Was it a conscious effort to come up with this sound you have, this ethereal hard rock, or was this just a process of figuring out each others strengths as a whole?

Ethan Miller: That’s kind of what it boils down to. Before there was singing we were just jamming – it was a noisier affair, you know? It sounded more like The Dead Sea or something like that. Then we had some pieces and parts, after pulling a part out of like an hour-long jam and saying that could be a cool root to a song. Then once we said, “well, let’s see what it sounds like if Meg sings over it,” it gets ethereal, pretty fast (laughs). I mean, her vocals are so strong and beautiful that you’d be a fool not to place it at the top of the mountain of your music. I think, partly, we tried to still maintain some of that noisy, underground, improvised feel, but that doesn’t always allow for a lot of space for that kind of beautiful singing and stuff. At some point, pretty quickly, we said, “how do we merge the two of these?” It was kind of happening naturally and we guided it.

large_550_tmp_2F1475192665183-ajgg443eb0ppchcc-38307ca3b5be28bdeada5932b5bedf31_2FNina+Front+CoverNina Simone would have been 84 this week — as such, fans the world over have been celebrating the iconoclast’s deep and dynamic catalog. Incredibly, a new highlight of Simone’s career surfaced late last year via the release of an extremely rare 1969 concert in Germany, the aptly titled A Very Rare Evening. Given a second life via the nascent reissue label Tidal Waves Music, the live document finds Simone at the height of her boundary shattering and awe-inspiring live game. A markedly rich document highlighting her crack rhythm combo (Weldon Irvine on organ, Don Allias on drums, and Gene Perla on bass), as well as a shining example of Simone’s improvisational and vibrant stagecraft.

Although released late last year, this live lp feels especially timely now, on this month, in an increasingly uncertain year. Explosive renditions of “I Ain’t Got No / I Got Life” and The Beatles’ “Revolution” resonate as deeply now as they must have at the sobering third act of the 1960s. Simone’s band plays fast and fierce, organ lines blaze with a funky defiance across the fearlessness of Simone’s testament. Her voice sprightly and resolute, Simone’s message of freedom, equality, and self-worth are as clear in their conviction as ever before. Side 2 finds the band catching absolute fire on an explosive reckoning of Aretha Franklin’s “Save Me.”

The record also finds Simone swooning in spellbinding and tender movements: the slow, delicate sway of “The Other Woman” and a dazzling, sun-kissed rendition of “To Love Somebody” – a song that Simone has made her own time and again. The most striking performance is perhaps Simone’s singular rendering of Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today.” A classic paragon of songwriting, Simone stays true to Newman’s outsider folk spirit, and her elegantly dramatic and beat-poetry approach to the material, intertwined with subtly arresting jazz guitar (courtesy of Simone stalwart Al Schackman), result in something wholly unique and utterly Nina. When she quiets things down to sing: “Tin can at my feet / Think I’ll kick it down the street / That’s the way to treat a friend,” you can hear your own heart break, but the baroque piano line and operatic crescendo leaves you feeling that we still live a world where, somewhere, somehow, “human kindness is overflowing.” words / c depasquale

Nina Simone :: I Think It’s Going To Rain Today


Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 471: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Alpha Beta – Astral Abuse ++ Trinidad And Tobago Steel All Stars – Do Your Thing ++ Unique Madoo – Call Me Nobody Else ++ Tony Sarfo & The Funky Afrosibi – I Beg ++ Sweet Breeze – Good Thing ++ Soul Throbs – Little Girl ++ Talking Heads – I Get Wild/Wild Gravity ++ Dub Syndicate – Out And About ++ Suang Santi – Dub Fai Kui Gun (Turn Off The Light, Let’s Talk) ++ Stomu Yamash’ta’s East Wind – Rian Race ++ Blur – Out Of Time ++ Faust – It’s A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl ++ Sam Spence – Sunken Ship ++ Rhetts Hughes – Light My Fire ++ Petalouda – What You Can Do In Your Life ++ Gil Scott-Heron – Message To The Messengers ++ T.Y. Boys – Lekopokopo Single Moqashoa ++ Gabor Szabo – Caravan ++ Carsten Meinert Kvartet – One For Alice ++ Gene Boyd – Thought of You Today ++ Amral’s Trinindad Cavaliers – It Sure Is Funky ++ Menahan Street Band – Tired of Fighting ++ Arthur Russell – Make 1, 2 ++ Talking Heads – I Zimbra ++ Fela Kuti – My Lady Frustration ++ Joya Landis – Angel (Of The Morning) ++ Kool Blues – Since I Fell For You ++ Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces – Groovin’ with the Aces ++ The Fabulous Three – Django’s Soul ++ Bembeya Jazz National – Petit Sekou ++ CAN – I Want More ++ Serge Gainsbourg – Des Laids Des Dubs ++ Dwight Sykes – In The Life Zone

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Tonstartssbandht, the Orlando-based duo of brothers Andy and Edwin White, return with a new studio lp, Sorcerer, due next month via the ever-evolving Mexican Summer label. Having cultivated a strong following for their mind-blowing and energetically boundless live shows, the brothers have long been sculpting their own blend of spaced-out krautrock and improvisational psych, perhaps most evocative of former San Francisco stalwarts Thee Oh Sees.

But where John Dwyer’s vehicle has evolved into a fiercer psychedelic rock form, Tonstartssbandht takes its time, (see the album’s three song track-list, it’s shortest number clocking in at nine-and-a-half minutes), allowing them a sonic spaciousness that enters an orbit of jammy neo-psych-folk, cloud-bound vocal harmonies, and spacey ambient soundscapes. The brothers White are dynamic and invigorated, slowly building their way to chaotic climaxes of pure art rock energy, unadorned and bursting at the seams. Again, to witness it live is to see it flower it in its fullest form. Below, check out the title track, the first taste of what will surely be an engine to elevate these psych pioneers to their next logical step – expanding further into the cosmos and into the ears of the adventurous. A spiritual experience, if you want it.

Tonstartssbandht ::  Sorcerer


Lagniappe (la·gniappe) noun ˈlan-ˌyap,’ – 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.

Beginning in 2011, one of the first Lagniappe Sessions commissioned was Timothy Showalter’s (then nascent) Strand of Oaks with a pair of disparate covers (Michael Hurley and Moby). True to form, Showalter returns with his second session paying tribute to Glasgow’s Primal Scream and Manchester’s Stone Roses…along with a recent discovery of his own, the music of Phish. Showalter, in his own words, below.

Strand of Oaks :: Dirt (Phish)

I might be the newest Phish fan in the world. I was never exposed to them until this summer. My manager asked me to go to both nights Phish played at Wrigley.  Of course! So in anticipation of the show I started listening to a lot of their music and quickly fell in love. Those two nights at Wrigley we’re some of the most genuinely fun times I’ve had in a long time. Just getting to spend time with my manager Ryan, not in any work capacity, us just having fun. And if anyone ever has doubts about Phish, please just go to a concert. Being basically hugged by 30,000 people is hard to combat against.  I needed those fans and needed those four wonderful musicians that night. I chose “Dirt” simply because it basically has the same chord structure of an Oaks song (which is good because I don’t know that many). Its also just a beautiful melody.

Strand of Oaks :: Damaged (Primal Scream)

Screamadelica is easily one of my top five records ever. I dare you to find another record that creates its own utopia more. I’ve listened thousand of times and it’s one my beacons of inspiration.  I wanted to do “Damaged” because the lyrics speak so much to how I love my wife. “Stoned in love with you”, – yup, I could never say it better. Bobby Gillespie’s range is really underrated too. I had to stretch to hit some of those notes. I also refused to touch the guitar solo, no way. That is one of the prettiest, perfect selection of notes I’ve ever heard. Pure ecstasy.

Strand of Oaks :: Made of Stone (The Stone Roses)

This song has lifted me from darkness ever since I was a teenager. When I decided to cover it, I started to do a pretty literal translation of the song. It obviously wasn’t working because those four humans cannot be replicated EVER. Then I picked up my acoustic guitar and added a shit ton of woozy chorus and delay and the song started working. But so different, it quickly become terrible touching and bittersweet. “Sometimes I fantasize…” took on a whole new meaning, thinking about these dark, dark times we are living in. Knowing how much hope and beauty the Madchester scene represented made me long for that in my own life and the world I live in. I want that light to be in all of our lives. Whether through friends, good chemicals, and general love for another, I just want that so, so bad right now.


“The light of the future casts the shadows of tomorrow.” – Sun Ra

Space is the place — something to keep in mind during these increasingly weird times. Something our space age prophet knew all too well. For those interested in the potent alchemy that was the brew of bandleader, philosopher, player and poet, Sun Ra, filmmaker Robert Mugge’s documentary A Joyful Noise is seminal. Released in 1980, the hour long film captures Sun Ra’s Arkestra performing in Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore, along with behind the scenes footage of the players at rest, rehearsal and in interview. Stream the film, in its entirety, below.